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Muda 無駄 en

Nemawashi is the Japanese version of a coordination process targeting for creating consensus between all involved interest groups and persons that take part in a decision. Ideas, topics, concepts are discussed, regarded and tested by all sides in individual one-to-one conversations.

The Japanese culture values group consensus and commitment as well as respect, face keeping and modesty. Therefore the vote takes place in personal dialogues that provide the opportunity to place questions, express doubts and make proposals in a closed setting, without coming back to haunt them as weakness or lack of knowledge. Goal is among other things the avoidance of potential face loss. Nemawashi requires from the suggesting person good ability to communicate and restraint, in order not to pressure or bring embarrassment to the decision maker. This process can quickly involve 10 to 20 people.

Nemawashi needs a relatively high expenditure in the preliminary coordination, but results usually in the fundamental commitment of all decision makers with no further changes. It is surely an important part of Japanese effectiveness that following the official decision meeting no additional discussions are needed. For this reason the total process until realization is faster, more effective and more sustainable than its western counterpart, the meeting marathon.

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